We did some backtracking to go find the Apollo 11 cave, an Archaeological site in the Karas Region approximately 250 km southwest of Keetmanshoop. You need to turn off onto the D463 dirt road on the northern portion of the Fish River Canyon National Park. We hit some rough roads and Istene took a tumble, so we decided to camp right there next to the road to recover, where we witnessed an incredible sunset.
While travelling the D463 looking for the Apollo 11 cave, we realized it was not a tourist destination. There are no signs or points of access as we expected, luckily we managed to bump into a farmer named Lajos who informed us that the cave was in-fact located on his farm. He was kind enough to take us on the hike to the secluded location of the cave next to the Bosman’s river.
On the way to the cave, we saw bushmen engravings as well as discovered bushman handprints of red ocher previously undiscovered to science. They were discovered when one of the team popped between/behind some rocks to urinate (archaeological discovery at its finest).
The cave itself is important for a variety of reasons. As well as having the oldest known rock paintings in Africa the cave contains some of the oldest examples of mobile rock art ever recovered. These were excavated and removed by a German archaeologist in 1969. The tablets with the art were Radiocarbon dated to 22 000 to 25 500 years old through charcoal found next to the slabs. More recently excavations revealed two rib bones with numerous notches engraved into them, these were dated to 80 000 years ago, making it some of the oldest ever homo-sapien evidence ever discovered.
Next, to the cave, there are remnants of more recent bushman activity with a ladder of sticks wedged into a crevice that leads up to an old beehive. Honey was sacred and extremely valuable to bushmen increasing the importance of the site to surrounding groups.
After 350 km of epic dirt road, several falls, archaeological discoveries and new friends made we began our journey North toward Windhoek to meet up with Istenes parents and our next opportunity to pick up spares and give the motorcycles a well-earned service.